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Preserving The Stories Of The 'HIV Pioneers'

The AIDS Memorial Quilt
Elvert Barnes
Creative Commons

According to the United Nations, more people are living with HIV than have died since the epidemic began in the 1980s. There have been large medical and social advances for those diagnosed with HIV and AIDS. But many of those early researchers, advocates and survivors are nearing the end of their lives. 

Wendee Wechsberg collected 29 firsthand accounts of the early days of the epidemic in “HIV Pioneers: Lives Lost, Careers Changed, and Survival” (Johns Hopkins University Press/2018). Wechsberg edited the book. She’s the director and principal researcher of the Substance Use, Gender, and Applied Research Program at RTI International. She’s also the founding director of the Global Gender Center.

Guest host Anita Rao talks to Wechsberg about the importance of preserving this stories and the lessons that can be learned from them. Dr. Charles van der Horst joins the conversation. He contributed to the book, and he is an emeritus professor in medicine and infectious diseases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. He writes a regular column for The Herald Sun in Durham.

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Amanda Magnus grew up in Maryland and went to high school in Baltimore. She became interested in radio after an elective course in the NYU journalism department. She got her start at Sirius XM Satellite Radio, but she knew public radio was for her when she interned at WNYC. She later moved to Madison, where she worked at Wisconsin Public Radio for six years. In her time there, she helped create an afternoon drive news magazine show, called Central Time. She also produced several series, including one on Native American life in Wisconsin. She spends her free time running, hiking, and roller skating. She also loves scary movies.
Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.
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